Thursday, September 21, 2023

Fragrance Etiquette 201

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Last week we talked about how to be considerate to those around you by not spraying too much fragrance. This week, I want to talk about a sub-section of thought regarding fragrances: compliments. Everyone loves to be complimented (within reason), it’s a nice ego boost, especially when you’re having a bad day and someone points out something nice about you.

That said, I want to talk about the concept of wearing a fragrance solely for chasing compliments.

Yes, it’s a thing.

This started around a few fragrance brands and has morphed into some parts of the fragrance community focusing solely on “how many compliments will I get if I wear this?” over practically everything else about a fragrance.

Friends, this is not why you should want to wear a fragrance. That said, what are some of the reasons you might want to wear a fragrance?

Reason One

You like how it smells! You should be wearing something that smells pleasant to you, that you get pleasure from. To quote Marie Kondo: “When you wear a fragrance, does it give you joy?”

If not, why are you wearing it and potentially making yourself miserable? Why would you spend your hard-earned money on something you’re not getting enjoyment from? A random passerby will smell it for all of 3 seconds. You’re going to smell it on yourself for the rest of the day.

Reason Two

You like how it makes you feel! Some fragrances can make you feel more confident. Especially if you’re putting your best foot forward. When your outfit’s put together, your shoes are on point, your hair is styled perfectly, and you need that final component to finish off that “I’m a boss” package, you can apply that perfect fragrance and boom. BOSS. MODE.

I like to view fragrances as a great “package completer” tool. It’s that final polish you can put on your outfit armor for the day, no matter where you’re going.

Just, ya know, don’t put too much on.

Reason Three

Your significant other likes it. This isn’t so much internally motivated, as it is wanting to make your partner happy. If you find a fragrance you like, and your partner really likes, it’s super easy to brighten their day by spritzing a little on.  Ten seconds and you’ve done something nice for them. Or, you can even offer to let them try it out!

Now, I’m not saying getting a compliment on a fragrance isn’t nice. It is! And there’s nothing wrong with a general “how do people like this fragrance?” type of question to see if it’s appropriate to wear in certain settings. But the likelihood of a river of compliments rolling in is not terribly high in your daily life. This shouldn’t be your sole basis for dropping a not-insignificant amount of money on a smelly liquid to spray yourself with.

Worse, when you start to see a certain trend with a certain demographic all clustering on “this is the ultimate compliment GOD fragrance” and turning the conversation to “how many people I’m sexually interested in will ~for sure~ wanna get with me since I wear this”, well. Remember how many women were completely turned off of Axe products because of their tacky marketing campaign and the ensuing legion of people who then doused themselves with their deodorant sprays?

It’s the same effect folks. You’re now starting to have people subliminally turn off at your “compliment god” fragrances because they associate it with over-eager people who only care about scoring with someone they’re sexually attracted to. It’s no longer associated as a scent of a person who is well put together, has fun hobbies, shares mutual interests with you, and genuinely would like to get to know you better.


Fragrances are magical creations that can lift the wearer’s spirits, a partner’s spirits, and bring back many pleasant memory associations even. But it’s not a magic bullet folks. And treating it like it is, well, that’s a turn-off.

Also, people. I REALLY enjoy wearing some of these “compliment GOD” fragrances, so like, don’t ruin it for the rest of us, mmmkay?

Have strong thoughts about this piece you need to share? Or maybe there’s something else on your mind you’re wanting to talk about with fellow Fandomentals? Head on over to our Community server to join in the conversation!


  • Kori

    Kori is an entertainment writer and Managing Editor at the Fandomentals. In her spare time, she is a fragrance and watch enthusiast, lover of Eurovision, and Yanni devotee. Find her on Instagram at @fmkori

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